Although popular music tends to celebrate the unusual, there are plenty of songs that pay tribute to hard working folks as well. This EHSDA Song of the Week comes courtesy of the J. Geils Band, who were at the peak of their party-rockin’ power in 1982 when “Flamethrower” was released on the Freeze-Frame album.
Written by keyboardist Seth Justman, the song is about a female factory worker who toils at her job during the day and then lets loose at night. While it doesn’t specifically detail any worker safety concerns, it’s clear that the song’s protagonist is overworked and underappreciated at her job, which then causes her to release her frustrations on the dance floor later.
“Flamethrower” was the funky B-side to “Freeze-Frame” and while it wasn’t a rock radio hit, it got airplay on rock, top 40, and Urban Contemporary stations and hit #25 on the Billboard Soul chart. Boston-based J. Geils Band specialized in R&B-flavored blues rock throughout the ’70s, but found new popularity in the early ’80s with a poppier sound on songs like “Centerfold,” “Love Stinks” and “Freeze-Frame.” But despite Freeze-Frame being their most successful album, lead singer Peter Wolf left a year later after disagreeing with the rest of the band on their musical direction (they were leaning towards more synth pop, he was not). They released one more album without him before calling it quits.